VOICES message to VA OMERs, Coaches, Families, Volunteers.
By March 13th, the regional boards had decided to cancel the remaining six Regional Tournaments and the Virginia State VOICES board decided to cancel the State Tournament. I believe it was an inevitable and wise decision but a very sad one to make as everyone worked extremely hard this season to prepare their team’s long-term problem solutions, sets, props, costumes, and presentations; prepare for a wide variety of spontaneous problems; prepare to host the region and state tournaments; and, prepare to go to the World Finals. We understand your disappointment so close to tournament time.
Since Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency, all Virginia schools are closed for several weeks. Recently, our respective school superintendents informed us to prepare for extensions as warranted by the persistence of this virus. Odyssey of the Mind has existed in Virginia for 38 years because of the support of the school districts and our volunteers. We cannot violate the school districts’ trust in Odyssey of the Mind by holding activities attended by large groups of people.
The Odyssey of the Mind World Finals has not yet been cancelled. The VOICES Board has considered options for teams that want to continue competing this season as well as those teams that only desire to showcase their performances. All options that require a team or teams to gather are suspended indefinitely. Although a team meeting is far fewer in number, we must have a clear conscience in respecting OMERs and parents alike to avoid spreading the virus unknowingly. Please join us in doing our part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus in our communities.
That said, the state associations are considering another set of creativity challenges from CCI that teams can solve without gathering in person. I will present this option to the VOICES Board for the regional boards to consider implementing at the regional level. We will provide more details as they become available.
As each region operates independently, the Regional Directors will contact coordinators regarding the possible tournament registration refunds, based on their expenses that cannot be recouped. For those teams who registered for the State tournament, those registration fees will be returned.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our OMERs, Coaches, Families, and Volunteers. I have never experienced a pandemic of this nature in my lifetime. Together we will persevere. Odyssey of the Mind will persevere.
Praying for you and your family’s health and well-being,
Director, Virginia Association
Odyssey of the Mind ©